NARA Bylaws

Last revised October 31, 2013

ARTICLE I NAME AND OBJECTIVES 

1. - The name of the Corporation shall be North American Ring Association (hereafter N.A.R.A.).

2. - The N.A.R.A. shall be a non-profit corporation.

A. To promote, organize, and administer the working dog sport activities known as International Ring Sport in North America, and to encourage sportsmanlike competition at working dog trials and tests.

B. To introduce, establish, and perpetuate the working dog sport activities known as International Ring Sport and to recognize and encourage the N.A.R.A. members' participation in the Judges Program to establish and administer the training and certification of U. S. International Ring Judges.

C. To work in friendly, mutually beneficial cooperation with the dog sports enthusiasts and to further the establishment of friendship and cooperation across all international boundaries in the cause of humanitarian training and sportsmanlike competition in the dog sport.

D. To support the establishment of a World Ring Program; and to promote international competition in International Ring Sport.

ARTICLE II MEMBERSHIP AND ELIGIBILITY 

Section 1. Membership. There shall be two (2) types of membership and that shall be Individual membership and Honorary membership.

Section 2. Dues. The amount of dues payable by individual members shall be set by the Board of Directors. Dues shall be paid in advance and shall be due and payable on or before the last day of December of each calendar year.

A. Delinquent dues, beyond the thirty (30) day grace period, will have a levy attached, and/or some restrictions may be attached, as determined by the Board.

Section 3. Termination of Membership. Membership may be terminated by:

A. Resigning. Any member in good standing, whose dues are current, may resign from the N.A.R.A. upon written notice to the Secretary.

B. Lapsing. A member's membership is considered lapsed if he/she has failed to pay his or her dues within thirty (30) days of the due date. In no case may a person whose dues are unpaid be entitled to vote, or be elected, or be appointed.

C. Suspension. An individual and clubs shall function in an honest and sportsmanlike manner and shall cooperate with the North American Ring Association in all official matters. Any individual falsifying, illegally altering or changing an official score book, or using another dog's score book for entrance into a trial shall be subject to discipline up to and including suspension. Further, an individual or a club may be suspended for conduct that is detrimental to the good of the sport as determined by the Board of Directors or a Hearing Panel that is selected by the Board. Charges may only be instituted by the Board or by a body appointed by the Board. Charges must be made in writing and a copy of the charges served upon the person or Club charged, by mail, at their last known mailing address, or in person, at the discretion of the Board of Directors. Upon the charges being brought, and after a preliminary investigation at the discretion of the Board, the Board may, itself, hear the charges or empanel a hearing panel for that purpose. The Board or panel shall investigate the charges and shall invite written response to the charges from the individual or club charged. Upon request, the individual or club charged shall further be entitled to an opportunity to present evidence, either in person or by sworn statement, in opposition to the charges. After considering all evidence collected, the Board or hearing panel shall issue written findings and determination regarding suspension. Findings and determination of a hearing panel must be confirmed by the Board of Directors. The term of suspension shall be commensurate with the charges found to have been established. Any individual under suspension will not be allowed to compete in any trials or vote until the suspension is lifted. Any club suspended shall not be allowed to organize or administer any trials or seminars, or in any way hold itself out to the public as a Forming or Affiliate club of this organization until the suspension is lifted. Any individual or club which has been suspended and which violates the terms of that suspension shall be given written warning by the Board of Directors to desist from said conduct or face permanent suspension. Failure to desist after said warning shall result in a hearing being scheduled, under the terms and conditions to be set by the Board of Directors, to determine if permanent suspension is warranted. 

The suspension of membership shall not extinguish any obligations of any member or club to North American Ring Association, and in the event of suspension, no matter when established, shall not result in any member being entitled to a refund, or credit for, any portion or all of the membership fees previously paid by that member.

Section 4. All applications for membership shall be submitted through the Treasurer of the N.A.R.A.. No person shall be denied membership status because of race, religion, national origin, or Sexual Preference.

ARTICLE III DIRECTORS & OFFICERS 

1. The Board of Directors shall be comprised of a President, a Vice-President, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and three (3) Representatives, one each from the West, Central and East, each of whom has one vote. An honest attempt to place a Representative in office from each Zone shall be attempted, if there are no nominees from a given zone, one from another zone will have to be substituted, without penalty, and this zone will be assigned to him/her by the Board.

Definitions of the three (3) Zones:

1a. Zones

Zones of the North American Ring Association's Region 

Eastern Zone:

Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida 

Central Zone:

Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas

Western Zone:

Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California, Alaska and Hawaii

Each Board member serves for a period of two (2) years, starting on January 1st of each odd number year.

2. All Board members shall be members in good standing of N.A.R.A.. A Board member shall be a permanent resident of the U.S.A. or of Canada.

3. The President shall preside at all meetings of the Board and the General membership, and shall have the duties and powers normally appurtenant to the office of President in addition to those particularly specified in these By-laws.

4. The Vice-President shall have the powers and exercise the duties of the President in the event of the President's absence or incapacity. The Vice-President shall assume the office of President for the unexpired term in case of the President's removal, resignation, death or inability to serve. The Vice-President shall also perform those duties which may be assigned, from time to time, by the President or the Board.

5. The Secretary shall keep a record of all meetings of the Board. The minutes of all meeting shall be mailed to the Board members and Club Presidents within thirty (30) days of any meeting. The Secretary shall have charge of the correspondence of the N.A.R.A., notify the Board members of meetings, maintain a roll of the names, addresses, and, if possible, telephone numbers of individual members and Clubs and carry out such duties as are prescribed in these By-laws, and may be prescribed by the Board.

6. The Treasurer shall bill, collect, and receive all monies due to the N.A.R.A.. The Treasurer shall deposit the same in a depository satisfactory to the Board of Directors, but only in the name of the N.A.R.A.. Expenditures of funds shall be made only under the authority granted by the Board. The Treasurer shall maintain the books of the N.A.R.A. and at every regular meeting of the Board, report the condition of the finances and every item of receipt or payment not previously reported; and no later than by the end of the quarter following the end of the Fiscal year, render a financial statement of all monies received and expended during the previous Fiscal year. The Treasurer shall maintain an accurate dues roll of all individual members. 

7. The Zonal Representatives will have the duties as determined by the Board.

8. No elected Officer may hold more than one Office on the Board concurrently. Exception: in an emergency situation, if one Board member must serve in a dual office, temporarily, (example, in the case of an office being suddenly vacated and needs an immediate appointment for functional purposes) he/she will only have one (1) vote.

9. The Board shall have the authority to appoint assistants and committee. Appointments and committees may be removed by a majority vote of the Board.

10. Any elected Officer may be removed from office for failure to perform the functions of office but only by a vote of two/thirds of the remaining Board members. Not withstanding the foregoing, any elected officer shall automatically be removed from office if he/she shall fail to attend three of six Board meetings or three (3) consecutive Board meetings.

11. In the event of vacancy in the office of President, the Vice-President shall fill the position for the unexpired term. In the event of a vacancy in any other elected office, the office shall be filled at the next regular or special meeting of the Board by a majority vote of the Board. In the event of a vacancy in any appointed office, the President shall make an appointment to fill that position at the next regular or special meeting of the Board and upon three/quarters approval of the Board, the appointed officer shall serve for the unexpired term.

ARTICLE IV CLUB YEAR, VOTING, NOMINATIONS, ELECTIONS 

1. The N.A.R.A. fiscal & official year shall commence on January 1 and end on December 31.

2. Voting by the Board shall be by simple majority of those present, physically or on a telephone conference, and eligible to vote, except where a greater majority is required by the other provisions of these bylaws. Voting "by proxy" shall be allowed. A quorum of the Board shall be met by the presence of the President, or in the President's absence, the Vice President, and no less than three (3) other Board members. Voting by the Board via electronic poll shall be allowed.

3. The elections of Officers for the Board shall be conducted as follows:

A. The Secretary on or about October 1 shall send a request to each Club in good standing, for nominations for the Board of Directors of the N.A.R.A.. This request shall be on a form approved by the Board. Each Club shall select the nominations by polling their own membership and submit this form to the Secretary no later than October 31. Each individual nominated from within a given Club must also submit a letter of acceptance for the position he or she has been nominated for and include a brief background of his or her qualifications for this position. The Board will, also accept nominations from any individual member, in good standing, that may or may not belong to a club. Two nominations for one individual, for one particular position, will be considered as a nomination and a second of that nomination.

B. The nominations will be put in the form of a Slate of Nominees for Office by the Secretary and assistant(s), approved by the Board. This Slate will be sent to the individual members by November 15th on a form approved by the Board, no other form shall be accepted and no write in votes will be counted. All Nominees will be listed in alphabetical order, by last name, for each Office. This form must include a brief background of each nominee for each Office. Only one form will be sent to each member in good standing. The list of members in good standing will be taken from the current list of paid up members in the Treasurer's records.

1. In the event of a mid-term, vacated office of a Zonal Representative, he or she will be replaced by new nominations and a new vote of all the Affiliate clubs in that Zone.

C. The individual's voting forms must be in the hands of the Board by December 15th. Any votes coming in after this date will not be counted. The votes will be opened and counted in a manner approved by the Board, preferably by an independent agency or disinterested third parties. The results will be reported to the present Board and the Board will notify all the nominees of the results and the actual vote count will be included in this report. The new Board will take Office on January 1st. The term is for a 2 year period. All ballots will remain under the custody of the Board for one year after the Election and then may be destroyed. In the case of a tie, a runoff election will be conducted for the two members receiving the greatest number of votes for that office. The runoff election will be conducted in the same manner except that the run-off Ballots must be sent out as soon as possible and the results must be returned before January 7th and certified within five (5) days.

D. The Board may, by special ballot, propose any issue which, in its discretion, it believes appropriate for a polling of the members or where otherwise required by these By-laws. In such event, the Board shall direct the Secretary to prepare and mail ballots in the manner otherwise described in these By-laws at least thirty (30) days prior to the date of the Board resolution requiring such vote.

4. No person may be a candidate for office who has not been nominated in accordance with these By-laws. Nomination for elected Office shall be accepted from any member in good standing and any member in good standing may be nominated.

5. No more than two (2) members of the Board may be from the same Club. No more than one Board Member may be elected from the same family/household. (Exceptions) See ARTICLE III DIRECTORS & OFFICERS; Item 8.

ARTICLE V COMMITTEES 

1. The Board may appoint chairpersons and standing committees. Such chairpersons and committees shall also be subjected to the final authority of the Board.

2. Any chairpersons, committee or committee member appointed by the Board may be terminated by a majority vote of the Board.

ARTICLE VI POWER OF THE BOARD 

The Board of Directors shall have the power to exercise all rights and privileges granted to them by these By-laws. The Board shall have the power to appoint qualified individual members in good standing to the position of Training Director, or any special position deemed necessary or productive to benefit the advancement of N.A.R.A. and Ring Sport in North America. The Board or the President may not appoint anyone to a position on the Board, with a vote. Only elected officials may have a vote on the Board. The only exception is in the case of an elected position that becomes vacant in mid-term and this will be filled as per these Bylaws. 

A. The Editor of the Newsletter will be appointed by the Board of Directors, all monies coming to the Editor for advertising, subscriptions, or for any other reason, will be forwarded to the Treasurer of N.A.R.A. at the earliest convenience of the Editor. Under no conditions may the Editor possess a bank account in N.A.R.A.'s name or the Newsletter's name, and under no conditions is the Editor authorized to endorse, deposit or in any way use the proceeds from the membership or individuals, for the Newsletter expenses, directly or indirectly. The N.A.R.A. Treasurer will provide all monies for the Newsletter's production and distribution, as per the Board's directions, and the Board must approve the limits of the costs of operating the Newsletter. The method of delivering monies to the Editor for operating costs will be determined by the Board, whether by check, money orders, credit card, electronic transfers, or any other reasonable methods used by the industries or organizations of the age. 

B. The Training Director shall be responsible for generally advising and assisting Clubs in their training programs. Also to inform the membership about any trial rules and rule changes. No person shall be eligible for this office who has not demonstrated experience as a working dog club training director or instructor.

ARTICLE VII MEETINGS 

1. Regular Board meetings shall be held no less than once each three months with one meeting to be held thirty (30) days prior to the annual general membership meeting. The annual General membership meeting will take place at the Championship, if there is a Quorum. 

2. Regular meetings of the Board may be held, from time to time, as required. Any Board meeting may be held by telephone conference call, by mail, fax, E-mail, or computer Chat Mode. A regular meeting of the Board may be held at any time when called by two or more Board members, provided that at least five (5) days prior notice be given, or notice is waived by all the Board members.

3. Special meetings of the Board may be called by the President at any time provided that five (5) days prior notice is given or notice is waived by all the Board members.

4. At any meeting sanctioned by these By-laws, the most recent "Robert's Rules of Order, Revised" shall generally govern parliamentary practice on all matters, unless expressed otherwise in these By-laws.

ARTICLE VIII AMENDMENTS TO THE BY-LAWS 

1. Amendments to these By-laws shall be made in only one of two ways.

2. Amendments may be proposed by a majority vote of the Board, or by a petition signed by twenty (20) percent of the then total membership in good standing.

3. Upon a proposal of an amendment by either Board action or by petition, the issue shall be voted on, by written or electronic online ballot, from the individual members, either in a general or special election, at the option of the Board.

4. Upon a two/thirds vote approval of the members voting, any amendment shall become effective thirty (30) days following such approval. The Secretary shall be required to forward copies of all amendments to the members.

ARTICLE IX DISSOLUTION 

The N.A.R.A. may be dissolved at any time by the written vote of not less than two/thirds of the then members in good standing. In the event that the N.A.R.A. shall ever be dissolved, then upon such dissolution, any assets remaining thereafter shall be conveyed to such organization or organizations as shall be selected by a majority vote of the Board, provided however, that such recipient shall be exempt under the requirements of section 501 (c) of the Internal Revenue Code and further provided that such recipient shall be one which generally promotes the purposes which are enumerated in the Articles of Incorporation and these By-laws.

ARTICLE X DISCIPLINE 

1. No Judge shall be subject to disciplinary proceedings under this article for alleged acts committed while performing the functions of his/her office. All such complaints shall be made in accordance with the laws and regulations of the N.A.R.A..

2. Lifetime suspensions shall require 2/3 approval of the Membership votes counted.

3. Upon written request of the suspended individual, after fifty (50) percent of the suspension has been served, (detailing the reasons the suspension should be lifted) the Board of Directors may review the case to determine if the suspension shall stand or be lifted.

4. Any suspensions will be followed by 1 year probation and a 5 year ban from holding office or Judgeship.

5. All other disciplinary action may be conducted by NARA Policy.

ARTICLE XI CLUBS 

I. There shall be two (2) types of clubs:

A. Forming Club. The forming club must submit, to the Board of Directors of the N.A.R.A., a set of By-laws, by which their club will be democratically operated. Once the Club is accepted, by the Board, the Club will remain as a Forming Club for a period of one year, minimum. Forming Clubs may organize and administer Regional trials and seminars, by contacting the N.A.R.A. and receiving permission and Sanction, but cannot organize or administer Championship Trials.

1. A Forming Club has no voting power, as a unit, but each individual may vote in any situation requiring a membership vote.

B. Affiliate Club. After the Forming Club has been accepted for a minimum of one year AND has organized and administered a Trial and/or Seminar, to the satisfaction of the N.A.R.A. Board, showing organizational, honest, sportsmanlike qualities, the N.A.R.A. Board may vote to accept the Club as an Affiliate Club. Once the Club is Accepted as an Affiliate Club, there will be a one year Probation period, during which the Club must display the abilities and attitudes required by the N.A.R.A.. An Affiliate Club may organize and administer trials and seminars, including Championship Trials by contacting the N.A.R.A. and receiving permission and Sanction.

1. An Affiliate Club has no voting power, as a unit, but each individual may vote in any situation requiring a membership vote.

C. N.A.R.A. Jurisdiction: NARA shall sanction Clubs and Trials only in the United States, US Territories and protectorates.

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